MANY of us received the news of the Supreme Court’s verdict for Aasia Bibi with a sense of relief and satisfaction. Thank God and the honourable judges for their sense of justice.
No one who had read the neutral accounts of the initial accusation and subsequent arrest, trial and forced confession believed that the case had any foundations except wilful lies and attempts to oust the poor woman’s family. Leaving aside the merits of the unfortunate act of passing such a law, the facts as quoted in the verdict speak for themselves. It was a mala fide case and the accusers, their community, police — all were complicit.
There is no one who can return Aasia all those years she sent in prison or wash away the fear and pain of her family.
As expected some leaders with their band of violent men have created chaos in the country for political and personal gains by inciting the ignorant. One hopes that the government will have the strength to push these hateful elements back without any bloodshed.
OCT 31 should be marked as a huge legal landmark towards a more tolerant Pakistan.
This decision is a premise in founding a tolerant society which is the need of hour. Overall, reaction of the citizens has been mixed. Some praised the decision where as others criticised it. Following the apex court’s verdict, the far right has partially paralysed the country to protest against the decision. The reaction from the far right was predictably violent. Main roads were blocked, students were stuck in schools — in short there was chaos.
I whole-heartedly want to congratulate the families of Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti who are heroes of this struggle, this is not only the victory of justice but also a stepping stone to the road of a tolerant and unprejudiced Pakistan.
Currently, the state has successfully quashed the former decision and given a just verdict — however, it has failed to ensure the freedom of its citizen which means that Aasia Bibi will probably have to go abroad soon and spend rest of her life outside her homeland.
Lala rukh Shehnaz Naqvi
Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2018